By Vanni Gibertini
Star Alliance Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary, Continues Enhancing Digital Passenger Experience
Next weekend Star Alliance, the oldest alliance in the airline industry, will celebrate its 25 anniversary. In fact, it was on May 14, 1997, that the five original founding members of the alliance announced the creation of this entity that would shape the growth of air transportation growth for the years to come. Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai and United constituted the core of what is still today the largest airline in the aviation industry with 26 active members, after reaching a peak of 28 airline members before the pandemic took away Adria Airways and Avianca Brazil.
During a press call on Friday, the CEO of Star Alliance Jeffrey Goh underlined the many achievements of Star Alliance during the past 25 years and provided an outlook of what is yet to come in the next few months and years.
After the 20 anniversary of the Alliance in 2017 marked the shift of the focus toward the passenger’s digital experience, today Star Alliance is continuing down the same path with seat selection integration: soon passengers on itineraries involving multiple Star carriers would be able to select their seats throughout their journey without having to access their reservation multiple times through different apps or websites, and work is underway to allow bag tracking on multi-airline itineraries.
Technology still remains central to the strategy of Star Alliance Carriers: the introduction of biometric solutions at four trial airports allowing passengers to go through security and board their planes without having to worry about passports and boarding passes has proven to be a perfect solution in times of COVID-19.
In November 2020 there was also the launch of a trial for a Digital Connection Center at London Heathrow Airport. Possible risks of passengers in danger of missing their interline connection between two Star Alliance Carriers are being evaluated and addressed as appropriate, performing protection as necessary and helping them navigate through the airport using their smartphones and existing electromagnetic fields around the airport.
Some of the initiatives in the pipeline for Star Alliance include the launch of a Star Alliance co-branded credit card before the end of the third quarter of 2022. Details about the credit institute that will be partnering with Star and the country where this industry-first endeavor will be rolled out were not disclosed.
There is also a more ambitious problem in the pipeline that would create the first intermodal partnership between Star Alliance carrier and a non-airline to integrate services and networks in order to provide passengers a seamless service. It has been revealed that the experiment will take place with a European partner and it will be launched by the end of this year.
This will be part of Star Alliance’s commitment, together with the rest of the industry, to net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of this century. “We are looking at all the possible solutions – said Goh – at the moment Sustainable Aviation Fuels are not being produced in quantities that can make a difference in aviation, but we will be ready to procure them as soon as manufacturers are able to deliver the quantities that are being needed. In the meantime, we keep looking at other possible solutions like decarbonization through the development of hydrogen aircraft and carbon-capture techniques”.